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ARTICLE Buying Health Insurance for the First Time: Timely Tips for the Class of 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (May 19, 2011) – As the Class of 2011 collects their diplomas, most new graduates will face decisions about health insurance for the first time.

Whether the new graduate has a job lined up with health benefits pending, is staying on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26 or is buying their health insurance on their own for the first time, it's important to know the different options that are available and how to determine which plan is right.

Below are a few tips from UnitedHealthcare's Golden Rule Insurance Company to help young adults make the best choice for their health care needs and their wallets.

  1. If eligible, first consider staying on your parents' plan. The new health reform law allows dependents to stay on their parents' health plan until age 26 in most cases, but be sure to compare premium costs vs. buying your own health insurance. Also, find out whether the health care providers where you are located are in the network on your parents' plan.
  2. It may cost less to buy your own health insurance. If you are shopping for your own plan, make certain that you do business with a reputable company. Ask parents and family members, check the company's website for its A.M. Best rating, which indicates financial strength and stability, or visit with a local independent insurance broker.
  3. Understand the plan that you are buying, what it covers and what it doesn't. Know what you are responsible for paying and learn what the basic terms mean (e.g., deductible and co-insurance).
  4. Look into high deductible plans. For many younger, healthier people, high deductible plans make sense and can help make health insurance coverage more affordable.
  5. Consider short term health insurance plans. Most plans offer one to six months or one to 11 months of coverage. Short term health insurance usually costs less and is easy to understand, and the application process is quick and simple.
  6. Be certain that you can drop your coverage without penalty if you find a job with health benefits.

Golden Rule Insurance Company has been a leading provider of health insurance for individuals and families for more than 65 years and is part of the UnitedHealthcare family of companies. UnitedHealthcare's health insurance and dental plans for individuals and families are offered in 41 states and are marketed under the UnitedHealthOne brand.

For additional information about Golden Rule's health plan choices for new graduates, see our website or call 1-800-444-8990.